Today’s present generation is already so dependent on technology, and it is easy to see the generations to come will be no different.
New gadgets and devices are surfacing more often, and children are using them at increasingly younger ages. Every student on BYU campus has access to a computer, and the majority have their own personal smart-phones, laptops or some sort of handheld device. The present attachment to technology at the rate technology is advancing proves the use of these devices is becoming second nature to the generations to come.
“It’s amazing how intuitive technology is to kids,” said Lauren Smith, a communication studies major at BYU. “We hardly ever have to show my 6-year-old sister how to do something on the iPad. Their lives will be completely different than ours.”
Clearly, technology already has a hold on young children today. “Children are so curious about their surroundings, and with a world full of technology, naturally they pick up on it quickly because it is all they know,” said BYU senior McKinzie Olson, studying clinical laboratory science. “When I got my iPhone, my niece proceeded to unlock my phone by herself and set all the high-score records on Angry Birds. She had just turned two years old at the time.”
Many young people who are just starting their families are worried about the young age children are starting to use technology nowadays. It is definitely not the way older generations grew up, since the majority of this technology did not exist. With all of these items at the ready, they could take kids away from normal childhood activities and keep them indoors and glued to their personal screens.
In a past BYU devotional, Charles D. Knutson, a BYU associate professor in computer science, spoke on a wide range of topics concerning the Internet, specifically gearing it towards families and their children. In an article by Marianne Holman for the LDS Church News, she quoted Knutson saying, “The Internet is not going away. … And it is best that kids learn from their parents.”
Instead of parents being afraid of these technological advances, Knutson stressed the importance of parents staying informed and setting an example for their children.
“69 percent of children aged 2-5 can use a computer mouse, but only 11 percent can tie their own shoelaces,” said Ciara Byrne in an article for VentureBeat News. “More young children know how to play a computer game (58 percent) than swim (20 percent) or ride a bike (52 percent).”
With statistics like these it is no wonder young parents are worried about their children. Kids are growing up around these devices and learning to use them sometimes faster than their parents.
“The environment they are growing up in is more technologically advanced,” said Cami Jensen, a BYU senior studying exercise science. “So their development has a different focus.”
Because of this new focus, kids are adapting to the changes faster than adults. They are figuring out technology because the future holds many more technological advances. By staying up-to-date and informed, parents can help them stay technologically savvy but also socially capable.